214 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

The Civil War

The greatest difference between the Northern and the Southern States of this Union evidently has always related to the institution of slavery; but this, in the early history of the republic, engendered other prejudices, especially in the South against the customs of the Yankee, so that, in course of time, and in accordance with that feature of human nature which inclines to find other faults than the main one with the opposite party, the Southern people began to hate the Northern more on account of certain "Yankee" customs than on account of abolitionism itself. Like a mass of food in a nauseated stomach, the slavery question would not remain settled, after all the attempts at compromise in 1820, 1850 and 1854 so that, on the approach of the Presidential election of 1860, it became evident, on account of the division of the Democratic party, that the "abolition" party would for the first time elect their nominee for President of the United States. He was elected, and the most hot-headed Southern State immediately led off in a rebellion, other States following during the winter. They mustered their military forces, and by the 12th of April, 1861, concluded they were ready to commence shooting. On that day they opened upon Fort Sumter and compelled it to surrender.

As to the part taken by the Vermillion County people in suppressing this great insurrection, we give a brief sketch of the respective regiments in which this county was represented by volunteers.


The patriotism of Vermillion County was quick to demonstrate itself, as a company was formed at Clinton within three or four weeks after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the first overt act of rebellion. This was organized as Company I of the Fourteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with Philander R. Owen as Captainm who was during the war promoted Lieutenant Colonel, when John Lindsey was

commissioned Captain to succeed him. Captain Lindsey, who enlisted as First Lieutenant, was mustered out June 24, 1864, on the expiration of his term. Upon his promotion to the position of Captain, William P. Haskell, who had been appointed Second Lieutenant of the organization, was commissioned First Lieutenant to fill the vacancy, and was discharged November 25, 1863, for promotion in the Fourth Regiment of United States colored troops. James M. Mitchell was promoted from the office of Second Lieutenant to that of First Lieutenant. The Colonels of the Fourteenth in succession, were: Nathan Kimball, of Loogootee, who was promoted Brigadier General; William Harrow, of Vincennes, also promoted, and John Coons, of Vincennes, who was killed in the battle of Spottsylvania Court-House, Virginia, May 12, 1864.

The Fourteenth Regiment was originally organized at Camp Vigo, near Terre Haute, in May 1861, as one of the six regiments of State troops accepted for one year. Upon the call for three years troops the regiment volunteered almost unanimously for that service. The new organization was mustered into the United States service at Terre Haute, June 7 1861, being the first three years regiment mustered into service in the whole State of Indiana. On its organization there were 1,134 men and officers. They left Indianapolis July 5, fully armed and equipped, for the seat of war in Western Virginia. They served on outpost duty until October, when they had their first engagement at Cheat Mountain, with Lee's army, losing three killed, eleven wounded and two prisoners. Their second engagement was virtually in the same battle, at Greenbrier, October 3 when they lost five killed and eleven wounded.

March 23, 1862, under General Shields, Colonel Kimball and Lieutenant Colonel Harrow, they participated in the decisive battle of Winchester, when they lost four killed and fifty wounded.

Besides a great deal of marching and other duty they marched 339 miles between May 12 and June 23, a part of which time most of the men were without shoes and short of rations. In July, for some twenty days, they were kept on outpost duty in the Army of the Potomac, coming in contact with the enemy almost night and day. August 17 they participated in the great battle of Antietam, serving in Kimball's brigade of French's division, it being the only portion of the line of battle that did not, at some time during the engagement, give way. On this account the men received from General French the title of the "Gibraltar Brigade." The Fourteenth was engaged for four hours within sixty yards of the enemy's line, and, after exhausting sixty rounds of cartridges, they supplied themselves with others from the boxes of their dead and wounded companions. In this fight the men were reduced in number from 320 to 150! Soon afterward they were still further reduced at the battle of Fredericksburg.

April 28, 1863, being a little recruited by some of the wounded recovering, they were at the front in the battle of Chancellorsville, and also at the desperate battle of Gettysburg, where they lost heavily, but did splendid work. Even after this they engaged in several severe fights, and some of the men reenlisted, December 24, 1863. This noble regiment -- what there was left of it -- was finally mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, July 12, 1865.


This was first organized in May, 1861, as a one-year regiment, containing some volunteers from Vermillion County. Pleasant A.